cover image A Rising Man

A Rising Man

Abir Mukherjee. Pegasus Crime (Norton, dist.), $25.95 (400p) ISBN 978-1-68177-416-9

British author Mukherjee’s outstanding debut and series launch combines a cleverly constructed whodunit with an unusual locale—Calcutta in 1919—portrayed with convincing detail. Capt. Sam Wyndham, a former Scotland Yard detective, has arrived in the Indian city wounded in spirit from the loss of his wife to the influenza epidemic and addicted to morphine after surviving the trenches of the Western Front. His experience lands him a position with the British Imperial Police Force in Bengal, and he soon receives a sensitive murder inquiry. Alexander MacAuley, a top aide to the lieutenant governor, has been found in an alley with his throat slit, some fingers cut off, and a bloodstained scrap of paper placed in his mouth on which is written: “English blood will run in the streets.” That warning indicates that Indian terrorists opposed to continuation of the Raj were responsible, but Wyndham finds the truth more complicated. The nuanced relationship between Wyndham and his Indian assistant, a sergeant known as Surrender-not Banerjee because the English can’t pronounce his first name correctly, adds even more depth. Agent: Sam Copeland, Rogers, Coleridge & White (U.K.). (May)